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©Brett Dolezal

Chapter 21:8-17 (ESV)

Posted on February 22, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 21:8-17 (ESV) - And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus says the Lord, say:

“A sword, a sword is sharpened
    and also polished,
sharpened for slaughter,
    polished to flash like lightning!

(Or shall we rejoice? You have despised the rod, my son, with everything of wood.) So the sword is given to be polished, that it may be grasped in the hand. It is sharpened and polished to be given into the hand of the slayer. Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?” declares the Lord God.

“As for you, son of man, prophesy. Clap your hands and let the sword come down twice, yes, three times, the sword for those to be slain. It is the sword for the great slaughter, which surrounds them, that their hearts may melt, and many stumble. At all their gates I have given the glittering sword. Ah, it is made like lightning; it is taken up for slaughter. Cut sharply to the right; set yourself to the left, wherever your face is directed. I also will clap my hands, and I will satisfy my fury; I the Lord have spoken.”

Question to consider: Why was Ezekiel to cry out and wail?

Once again, the Lord’s sword was sharpened for slaughter against Israel rather than her enemies. When the prophet Habakkuk had cried out against the injustices happening in Israel, he was shocked when the Lord promised to judge Israel by the Babylonians because he considered them more sinful than Israel.

Israel assumed that God was always on their side, but they must have forgotten Joshua’s encounter with the commander of the Lord’s army. “When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, ‘Are you for us, or for our adversaries?’ And he said, ‘No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.’ And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, ‘What does my lord say to his servant?’ And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, ‘Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.’ And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13-15)

Israel had despised the rod by ignoring God’s warnings of judgment, and now with a cry and a wail, the sword was coming down on the princes, the rulers of Israel. The sword had already fallen two times before. The first was from the South by Pharaoh Neco against Jehoahaz. The second was from Nebuchadnezzar against Jehoiachin who was now with Ezekiel in exile. The third was going to go against Jerusalem to cut down Zedekiah for the abominations done there.

In dramatic fashion Ezekiel would demonstrate this judgment by crying out and wailing, slapping his thigh, clapping his hands and swinging a polished and glittery sword down three times to symbolize their destruction.The sword is described as being like lightning which points to the swiftness in which the judgment would occur once it began, and I wonder if the description of God clapping would have manifested as thunder when Ezekiel swung the sword.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for clothing us in Christ’s righteousness so that we may call upon You as our refuge and our strength rather than be cut down as Your enemies. Amen.